18 December 2008

PhonepayPlus today published its 2009/10 Business Plan & Budget consultation. All responses must be received by 29 January 2009.

The proposed budget for 2009/10 is £4.5m. This is an increase of 2.4%, or £106,000, but represents a decrease in real terms. We believe this to be an efficient budget that recognises financial hardship in the industry while ensuring PhonepayPlus is able to protect consumers from any and all instances of consumer harm.

During 2008, interactive television services returned to many TV channels. We expect broadcasters’ investment in ensuring greater compliance and a tightening of regulation to mean that viewers can once again participate in television shows with trust and confidence. The premium mobile market continues to grow, as consumers – especially young people - continue to find value in mobile-related services.

However, many service providers began to feel the effects of a downturn in consumer spending. The market in 2008 is estimated at £920m, a contraction of 15%, and research suggests that this decline is likely to continue into 2009. At the same time, 2008/9 will see an increase in complaints, reversing a downward trend over the last three years.

In October 2007 PhonepayPlus published a three-year business plan that outlined how we intended to regulate the industry and run our business. Today’s publication provides an analysis of the organisation’s delivery against these objectives and sets out our proposed priority action areas for the coming financial year. These include:

Leading the debate around the composition of a new Code of Practice;

  • Widening our scope of regulation to include 0871 numbers;
  • Monitoring mobile services following our review of the sector in 2008;
  • Keeping broadcast phone-paid services under review;
  • Developing strategic approaches to systemic compliance failings; and
  • Reviewing the consumer’s experience when its interaction with phone-paid services goes awry.

We wish to gather views on our priorities for next year, and the budget we have proposed to allow us to deliver against our objectives. Click here to
view the PhonepayPlus 2009/10 Business Plan & Budget consultation document. The deadline for responses is 29 January 2009.